Kevin “Chief” Zaruk and Simon Tikhman, co-founders of entertainment and talent management company The Core Entertainment (TCE), have partnered with Universal Music Group (UMG) to launch the global label venture The Core Records. The label venture will sign and develop new artists, working with UMG’s global network of labels.
Tikhman and Zaruk, who were both honored as part of Billboard‘s 2023 Country Power Players list, founded The Core Entertainment in partnership with Live Nation in 2019 as an independent entertainment collective with offices in Nashville and Los Angeles. TCE’s talent roster includes Billboard 2023 country rookie of the year winner Bailey Zimmerman, known for his Billboard Hot 100 top 10 hit “Rock and a Hard Place,” which also spent six weeks atop the Country Airplay chart, in addition to his No. 1 Country Airplay chart hit “Fall in Love.” Also on the TCE roster are RIAA diamond-certified rock band Nickelback, “Whiskey on You” hitmaker Nate Smith, producer Austin Shawn, pop band Valley, rising UMG Nashville artists Dillon James and Josh Ross, country newcomer Rachel Wiggins and rising songwriter (and frequent Zimmerman collaborator) Gavin Lucas.
TCE specializes in talent management, innovative business and strategic partnerships, advancements in the music, technology, and lifestyle industries, as well as developing film and television projects and works with professional athletes.
UMG chairman and CEO Sir Lucian Grainge said in a press release, “We love building upon our entrepreneurial culture, and are so pleased to welcome Chief and Simon who have a reputation for identifying some of the industry’s most promising artists. We look forward to helping them grow their roster and drive global success for their artists.”
Tikhman added, “Our goal has always been to support artists on a global scale by creating new creative and commercial paths. We’d like to thank Sir Lucian for believing in our vision and for his commitment to developing and supporting artists and entrepreneurs.”
Zaruk added, “We’re excited for this next evolution in The Core and honored to work with Sir Lucian and the team at UMG to help us continue to guide artists to develop their careers and brands. We’ve had a great time building The Core over the past few years and are excited to create a home for new artists with the incredible resources and support from UMG.”